Selling professional travel services is not a one-call business. You cannot sell travel services the way automobile mechanics or dry cleaners sell their services. Conventional advertising does not work well for us, probably because we are asking the prospect to risk a great deal more than a few dollars. We are asking them to trust us with their vacations, honeymoons, reunions and valued time off from work.
Prospects become clients only after careful consideration and after being impressed with us sufficiently. Prospects buy the image you have created, or they do not buy you at all.
Marketing has everything to do with creating, maintaining and selling an image. This image must feature your capability, confidence, professionalism, integrity and other reassuring qualities that add up to a profound sense of belief in you the consultant … in you and in your agency.
Even after building a professional image, you will not win new business spontaneously. Clients do not make spot decisions when risking thousands of dollars with unknown and unproven suppliers. Selling our services usually involves a multi-call approach, one that involves at least two major steps.
Generating prospects and following them up to fruition.
Let’s first get clear on the meaning of “prospect”.
What is a prospect? A prospect is a qualified lead. It is the name of someone who is interested in your services and is willing to pay for your assistance. Unless you establish that, you will be wasting your time and money pursuing a non-prospect. It is therefore beneficial to qualify leads before you can call them prospects.
Qualifying leads. There are several things you need to know about a lead before you can call him or her a prospect. You need to know:
- Does the lead have a need for your service?
- Are they seriously interested in using a travel professional?
- Are they capable or in a position to work with you?
If the answer to these three questions is anything but “yes,” you are probably well-advised to keep on developing more leads and not settling for “prospects” who will not help you grow your business.
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